Springfield, IL – The Springfield Mass Transit District (SMTD), responding to delays in state payments and continued uncertainty in the state budget moving forward, will collect public comment on proposed changes to night service. Passengers and other interested Springfield area residents can provide comments online on this page or by attending one of two sessions open to the public at Lincoln Library on November 4th. The sessions will take place in the Carnegie Room North from Noon to 1:30 PM and from 4:30 PM to 6:00 PM Friday, November 4th. Following are the proposed changes:
- Elimination of Saturday Night Service - Saturday Night Service is a new service which began less than two months ago. While passengers who have begun to use the service will be inconvenienced, this service requires extra maintenance, dispatch and paratransit staff in addition to the operators required on the routes.
- Elimination of Night Service Route 904 - Night Service Route 904 runs opposite the 903 along the same route on the west side. Route 904 passengers may be inconvenienced, but route 903 ensures night service will remain in one direction along that route. The proposed change will reduce overall night service by 20% while still leaving passengers another clear option.
- Reduction of all Night Service Monday through Friday by two hours - The proposed elimination of the last two current trips of weeknight service reduces all aspects of SMTD operational costs by ten hours per week. Similar to Saturday service, this service requires extra maintenance, dispatch and paratransit staff in addition to the operators required to run the routes. Night service after the change would consist of one-hour trips at 6:45, 7:45, and 8:45 on the current routes 901, 902, 903 and 905.
- Impact on Access Springfield paratransit service - Reductions in SMTD regular service hours will impact Access passengers as well. Access paratransit service runs the same hours as SMTD mainline service. So, any reduction in service hours at the end of that day on weekdays and on Saturdays will reduce paratransit service hours by an equal amount.
The downtown Lincoln Library at 7th & Capitol was selected for reasonably easy access for bus passengers, with the Transfer Center just two blocks west and nearby bus stops at 8th & Capitol on Routes 2, 9 and 15 outbound, and at 7th & Monroe on Routes 3 and 16 outbound. Click here for directions (via Google Transit).
“SMTD is required to collect public comment which is then submitted to our Board of Trustees before a vote is taken on service reductions,” said Steve Schoeffel, Service Planning & Marketing Specialist. “With an online option and meetings scheduled over the lunch hour and after work hours in a central location like the library, we are providing multiple avenues for the public to make their voices heard. If the state budget situation is not resolved, this could be just the first of further reductions needed in order to still be able to provide core services.”
In addition to submitting public commit, SMTD is asking passengers and supporters of public transportation to contact local legislators and leaders up to the State Comptroller and Governor’s Office to voice their concerns over state funding delays and how the loss of these and any other SMTD services would affect them.